Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism (ISBN ), by Ozzie Zehner, was published in by. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Zehner, Ozzie. Green illusions: the dirty secrets of clean energy and the future of environmentalism / Ozzie. Green Illusions. The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism. Ozzie Zehner. Our Sustainable Future Series. pages 12 illustrations.

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I did not know Green personally but had corresponded with her when writing Green Illusions. I wish her family and colleagues the best during this time. A student environmental group at Bridgewater-Raritan High School raised money for a bike rack only to have their principal reject it, citing safety risks.

Similarly, a principal at Island Park Elementary School in Mercer Island, Washington, an avid bicycler herself, vetoed a proposed bike route, pointing out that a fifth-grader had recently been killed while walking his bike through a street crossing. Stories such as these are all too familiar to Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School SRTS National Partnershipwhich institutes programs across the country to make walking and biking to school safer and more practical for students and educators.

And even though safe routes are a far more effective challenge to fossil-fuel consumption than solar cells, legislators overwhelmingly direct more money into the solar pot. In California, for every dollar spent on safe routes, well over ten dollars has flowed to solar cells during every budget year from thru today. Given the clear and far-ranging benefits of walking and biking to school, the fact that communities hold bake sales to finance bike racks and safe thruways for students while the fetishized solar-cell industry bathes itself in billions of public funds is an inglorious national embarrassment.

There is no secret to designing safe and convenient bikeable and walkable communities. The strategies are flexible to a wide array of neighborhood layouts, simple to institute, and return rapid paybacks in terms of public safety, quality of life, energy footprints, and long-term infrastructure maintenance costs.

Green Illusions Summary | Ozzie Zehner | 6-Minute Summary

Just like solar energy. But please RSVP here. Friday, February 13th Time: Mention that you are my guest to receive a complimentary ticket at the box office illsuions call I was once an electric car enthusiast.

I even built one! Unclean at Any Speed considers the entire life cycle of electric cars, especially their manufacturing impacts, in an effort to reveal a more comprehensive understanding of these vehicles, which governments are spending billions to subsidize.

Illlusions did we ever think electric cars would be clean in the first place? And, how did electric cars come to be revered as a symbol of progressive green identity? I start the article with a story from last summer, when California highway police pulled over pop star Justin Bieber, speeding through LA as he attempted to shake off the paparazzi.


Bieber joins a growing list of illusioons who are illusilns their electric cars into green credentials. President Obama once dared to envision a million electric cars in the U. Environmentalists who once stood entirely against the proliferation of automobiles now champion subsidies for companies selling electric cars and tax credits for people buying them.

And some taxpayers understandably feel cheated that these subsidies tend to go to the very rich. Are electric cars really so green? My article considers how electric cars ezhner shift negative impacts from one place to another.

Most electric-car assessments analyze only the charging of the car.

This is an important factor indeed. Indeed, the study found that an electric car is likely worse than a car fueled exclusively by gasoline derived from Canadian tar-sands! The hope, of course, is that electric-car technology and power grids will improve and become cleaner over time. If those estimates are correct, the sorcery surrounding electric cars stands to worsen public health and the environment rather than the intended opposite.

But even if the researchers are wrong, there is a more fundamental illusion at work on the electric-car stage. Almost every electric vehicle study compares electric vehicles to gas-powered ones. In doing so, their findings draw attention away from the broad array of transportation options available—including living walking, bicycling, and using mass transit. No doubt, gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars are expensive and dirty.

Road accidents kill tens of thousands of people annually in the United States alone and injure countless more. Using them as a standard against which to judge another technology is a remarkably low bar. Even if electric cars someday pass over that bar, how will they stack up against other alternatives? Read the full article here: Although, the other four authors geeen perhaps insurmountable competition. Of the disadvantages of renewable energyone issue stands out: Can these technologies be renewed without fossil fuels?

I recently spoke with Mark Hand about the renewability of renewable energy in an interview. There are lots of research studies saying we have enough wind energy to supply x our needs or we have enough solar in the Mojave Desert to grene this and that.

The problem is that if we were to actually build that many solar panels, for instance, it would be an ecological zeyner.

The Mojave Desert might be the Saudi Arabia of solar, but if we were to cover deserts with solar cells, the consequences would destroy civilization as we know it within a single generation just because of heavy metals, greenhouse illusione, economic effects and so on.


In my mind, there is a presumption that we have a choice between alternative energy and fossil fuels.

Green Illusions

But the reason that I wrote the book was to draw out why that choice that we seem to have between the two is an illusion. They rely on fossil fuels for raw material extraction, for fabrication, for insulation and maintenance, and for decommissioning and disposal.

Aside from the physical lifespan, they also rely on fossil fuels for their financing. They rely on an economy whose growth is driven by fossil fuels. The kind of financing that you need for renewables requires that. You need concurrent fossil fuel plants running alongside solar cells and wind turbines at all times. And, if they work as advertised, these energy technologies will spur the kind of growth that will increase pressure to extract and burn fossil fuels well into the future.

Inequality in American society is apparently not well understood by the general public. This motion infographic renders:. Wealth ultimately arises from natural resource extraction, primarily fossil fuels. Also, how does income inequality affect rates and forms of consumption, investment, growth and other stresses on the non-human world? While burning biochar, a rebranded term for charcoal, is less harmful than burning firewood, the fuel source would have a negative impact if produced on a large scale.

When contemplating alternative energy sources, such as biochar, one must understand its advantages as well as its limitations. The sludge output of the average American yields enough power to light a standard compact florescent light bulb without end. In poor countries, the soot from firewood, waste, and dung kills about 1.

Ozzie Zehner | Author of Green Illusions

When processors heat wood above [degrees celcius] with limited oxygen, in a process called pyrolysis, it spontaneously breaks into three useful fuels: Cornell researcher Kelli Roberts points out that large-scale biochar production, as envisioned by some eager biofuel productivists, could yield unintended consequences.

As with other biofuel methods, if producers clear virgin land to grow biochar inputs such as trees and switch grass, the process could ultimately do more harm than good.

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